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Types Of Employee Conflict You Might Encounter On Your Team
Because your team comes with different personality types, youll see different types of conflict. Some people avoid conflict and confrontation, while other employees might revel in a good heated discussion, or even seek it out.
Conflicts may be multidimensional. Consider if the conflict in question is manifesting as:
The Harvard Business Review categorizes conflict in the workplace under two banners: Hot conflict and cold conflict.
Knowing the difference helps when it comes to conflict management:
How To Prevent Employee Conflict Going Forward
Managing conflict as it comes up will always be part of your role, and to keep conflict at bay as much as possible, you can do some solid preventive work. Especially in a remote work environment when connections are harder to build between screens.
Managers and teams need to prioritize their emotional intelligence and ground work to reduce the chances of potential conflict. Heres how:
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Sample Answers To Discuss Conflict Resolution Questions
Below you can find some examples of answers to conflict-resolution interview questions. Some of these questions require you to provide the job experience you had in a previous job. These behavioral interview questions are already written in STAR format so that you see how you can structure your answer.
If You Are Faced With A Very Angry Customer Who Is Unhappy With Your Product Or Service How Would You Handle Them
If your job description involves dealing with acustomer, it means at many occasions you will be the companys face in front ofthe consumer. They are testing how much you value and are good at customerservice.
Tip 1: Angry customers require tact. Show them thatyou have it.
Tip 2: Show that you can differentiate a genuinelyunhappy customer with a scammer.
In these cases, itis important to hear out the customer fully and understand exactly what aspectof the issue or the product they have faced problem with. Once that area is pinpointed, Id try to placate the customer by assuring them that the relevantteam will start the work on it right away and the issue will be taken care ofat the earliest. If they are especially angry with a genuine reason, a fewdiscount coupons or vouchers can ensure their continued loyalty to the companywhile the concerned team is notified and the issue resolved.
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Example Answers For Tell Me About A Conflict Or Disagreement You Had With A Coworker
If they ask for a specific time you had a conflict or disagreement with a coworker, then you need to be ready to share a story.
So to prepare, think of one specific disagreement or conflict so that youre ready for interview questions about the topic.
Try to pick a story where you:
- Were able to solve the disagreement and come to a positive outcome
- Learned something from the experience that you can share with the interviewer
- Didnt cost the company much time or money you dont want to share a massive conflict that harmed your company in a huge way
Why The Interviewer Asks You About How You Handle Conflicts
As you know, in a diverse workplace, there are going to be different opinions because people are not going to get along with each other all the time. However, most jobs require you to get along with different types of peoples and personalities. To succeed in these situations, you must be able to handle conflicts as a professional. This is also the reason why interviewers are interested in how you approach such situations. These skills are especially important in certain jobs, such as customer service, project management, and law.
Job interview questions about conflict resolution are used to filter out the candidates whose approaches and actions match the requirements and company culture of the hiring company. Candidates that possess the right conflict resolution skills can reach a peaceful resolution to a dispute. This may be a conflict between colleagues, or between a supervisor and a subordinate. However, it could also regard a dispute between a service provider and their customer or client. Whatever the case may be, when theres a conflict in a professional workplace, it needs to be resolved. Most conflicts in the workplace are essentially arbitrary. This means that its not about who wins the conflict, but what counts is that the situation is resolved in a professional manner so that everybody can continue their work.
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There Are Different Types Of Conflict At Work But Your Reactions Should Always Showcase A Diplomatic Approach
Clearly explain how well you handle conflict at work.
No one likes conflict, especially at work. But disagreements between co-workers are inevitableand showing prospective employers that you’re well versed in conflict resolution is crucial. Will you add to the melee or can you step back and remain levelheaded?
Obviously, not everything in your career is going to be easy, whether that means confronting the person who stole your lunch from the office refrigerator to negotiating a new contract with clients to deliberating a new job offer. In an environment that’s diverse as the modern workplace there are going to be differences of opinion and behavior. Employers need to be sure you can get along well with others.
Conflict resolution is just one of the many hurdles the workplace will present to you. Here are five common questions hiring managers ask to assess your conflict-resolution skills and the best approach to answering them.
Describe A Situation In Which You Disagreed With A Rule Or Policy And How You Handled It
In previous positions, you may have encountered guidelines that you didnt feel comfortable following. This question allows you to explain why or why not you would perform assigned tasks even when you disagree with the rule or policy related to the duty.
To answer this question, provide an example of a rule or policy that you disagreed with, how you expressed your disagreement and how you reconciled the disagreement to ensure you could perform your duties as assigned.
Example: In one of my previous jobs, the human resources director wanted to capture personal identifying informationsuch as social security numberson job applications. He was insistent that the information would be secure, and though I believed him, I still disagreed with this practice. I understood that human resources needed to collect this information at the point of hire to verify employment eligibility, but I did not agree with collecting it from every applicant.
I expressed my opinion that requiring this information on the application could negatively impact our talent pool, but also acknowledged that I was not a human resources professional and it was not my decision. The human resources director acknowledged my opinion, but believed it was the best practice. I trusted him as the experienced professional to make the correct choice.
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Why You Should Test Candidates Conflict Management Skills
Employees with conflict management skills work through arguments, complaints and differences of opinion constructively. These employees are able to:
- Resolve issues that arise among team members quickly
- Handle complaints from customers
- Raise objections in a professional manner
Its essential to test candidates conflict-resolution skills, particularly for:
- senior-level positions, where your future hires will manage teams
- sales positions, where your future hires will contact customers on a daily basis
Here are some sample conflict management interview questions to ask candidates during your hiring process:
Understand The Nature Of The Conflict
Its often tempting to make assumptions about conflict, especially if rumors are circulating. But dont assume anything. Instead, figure out whats fueling the disagreement between your employees.
First and foremost, make sure youre not dealing with an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issue, such as workplace harassment or discrimination. Become familiar with your companys harassment prevention polices and guidelines, if you arent already. And if you dont have these types of policies currently in place, make that a priority.
Remember, with harassment, its not the intent of the behavior but how the behavior is perceived.
Once youve ruled out any EEOC issues, what are some other underlying circumstances that may be causing or worsening the conflict? Are there clashing work styles at play? Is it a high-stress environment? Is a new project creating tight deadlines? What about a difficult client? Are some employees spreading gossip or bullying coworkers?
There may be a variety of factors causing hostility among your employees. Getting an initial read on whats at the heart of the matter is essential to successfully resolving the issue and avoiding future conflict.
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What Is Conflict Resolution
Conflict resolution is the process by which two or more parties reach a peaceful resolution to a dispute.
In the workplace, there can be a variety of types of conflict:
- Conflict may occur between co-workers, between supervisors and subordinates, or between service providers and their clients or customers.
- Conflict can also occur between groups, such as management and the labor force, or between entire departments.
Some conflicts are essentially arbitrary, meaning it doesnt matter who wins, only that the problem is resolved so everyone can get back to work.
But some conflicts reflect real disagreements about how an organization should function.
Start Off On The Right Foot With New Hires
When hiring new employees, make sure you have some interview questions that refer to conflict resolution skills. Talk to the potential hires and find out if theyve dealt with employee conflict before. Learn about methods for managing conflict and problem-solving. Every organization has a unique handbook and methodology for dealing with things, so its good to find out ahead of time if your new hires will be good fits for the team you currently have. Its impossible to learn everything from an interview, but you can ask some questions to get an idea of their thinking and methods regarding conflict resolution.
We mentioned the handbook and policies above as well. Make sure you have an orientation process that helps new hires understand the expectations and rules in your workplace. Some organizations have videos that introduce the leadership team and cover the values and mission statement . Then dive into some of the important things that employees should know when joining the company. By communicating clearly and being upfront, you can help avoid misunderstandings down the line and avoid unnecessary problems.
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Structuring Answers To Conflict
Below you can find a step-by-step list on how you can prepare strong answers to interview questions about handling conflicts. However, make sure that you come across naturally when answering questions, avoid fully reciting answers because the interviewer will notice.
What Are Common Causes Of Employee Conflict
What causes conflict on teams? It can be a number of things. Many of them you can control as a manager, so long as you intentionally take the time to check in on each one.
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Question : Tell Me About A Time You Had To Respond To An Unhappy Customer Or Client
When you’re interviewing for a client- or customer-facing position, youre applying to be an ambassador for the company and that type of role carries a lot of responsibility.
Especially in the age of the internet, how you respond to conflicts with a customer is a public matter. Losing a major client or customer can cost the company a lot of money. Show that you’re willing to go the extra mile to make customers or clients happy. This demonstrates that you understand the value of customer service.
As with other behavioral interview questions, your anecdote should focus on the positive outcome: “Here was how I de-escalated the situation and kept the client happy going forward.”
Show hiring managers that you arent nursing an overblown ego and are eager to embrace a peacekeeping process. Not only can this type of attitude serve you well in the workplace, but it can also improve non-working relationships as well.
Involve Everybody To Agree To Find A Solution To The Conflict
Once everybody agrees that theres an issue everyone involved should also agree that this problem needs to be resolved. If youre the mediator in the conflict resolution process and one or more participants is not ready to discuss the conflict, its best to take them aside to talk to them. Find out why they feel a certain way and how you can encourage them to participate actively in the resolution process.
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Sample Answer #: Conflict With A Manager Or Boss
In my previous role as a product designer, I had quite a few disagreements with my manager about the tradeoff between quality and speed.I wanted to slow down our release cadence a bit, so we could improve the user experience of our platform to be more inline with best-in-class software. She felt like it was better to compete on having more features rather than fewer, more robust features. She also pointed out that the feedback we’d received from customers and the organization was that the platform was easy-to-use when compared to competitors. I argued that while we were better than competitors there was still a long way to go when compared to modern software. My manager thanked me for being honest and we ended up meeting in the middle by dedicating one day per week to improving the UX and UI of the platform. After three months of this work, we were winning far more deals and prospects and customers were telling us how much the platform had improved in such a short time.
Why it works: The best co-workers can argue their case respectfully and handle disagreements without taking things to heart. This candidate has shown how they can argue their case to their manager without damaging the relationship. It’s also great to see that they were able to talk about the argument’s impact.
How Can You Notice Signs Of Employee Conflict
Heres how managers can pinpoint the tell-tale signs of workplace conflict. This may be more difficult to pinpoint in a remote context, paying special attention on virtual calls is helpful.
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How Have You Dealt With A Conflict With A Vendor
This can be a common conflict resolution interview question for a role related to supply chain management.
As with any other such question regarding conflict at work, sticking to the STACK acronym should suffice.
Here are a few examples of how to answer interview questions about conflict with a vendor.